The Witching Hour (Anne Rice)

In 1818 Mary Shelley created Frankenstein’s monster, a bag of bones held together with dead flesh and animated by gothic electricity.  In 1990 Anne Rice created The Witching Hour, a 1,207 page bag of bones held together with dead prose and flaccidly animated by pseudo-gothic raving. The Mayfairs are a family of witches who limp, from Europe, to a southern United States plantation, to the Garden District of New Orleans (Louisiana’s Gothic Central). Their bones are clothed in lush foliage, incest, madness, torture and incantations. Pursuant to some vague female version of the entail, one woman in each generation inherits…

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Much More Than Scenery

April 9, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Non-Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Landscapes of South Australia by Alex Frayne (2020) The Varnished Culture has hitherto grudgingly conceded photography as an art; this sumptuous volume has fully convinced us. Over 200 pages of beautiful photographic plates, in brilliant, vibrant tints or tasteful, crisp black-and-white, this is a book for a bedside table, not a coffee table. If one is fortunate to live in South Australia, it fires the imagination and galvanizes the traveller to breathe the immense and often desolate beauty of the State, especially in these days of border-hopping restrictions; for those of us who regard camping as akin to a root…

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Prison Journal

(Volume I: The Cardinal Makes His Appeal) (by George Cardinal Pell) (2020) The story is notorious, and you don’t require the gift of faith or have to hold a brief for the real victim to find it shocking. Pell was the leading Catholic figure in Australia, of a conservative bent, and detested by many Australians, who considered him a monster. The reasons for this seem to be that he was the leading Catholic figure in Australia, and of a conservative bent. His conviction for historical sex crimes saw a ‘pile-on’ of a magnitude only comparable with the demonisation of Lindy…

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Parody # 6: The Spoodle (Home From the Lab)

February 2, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | PETER'S WRITING, Poetry, WRITING & LITERATURE |

(with apologies to R. M. Rilke and his ‘Panther’)   His vision, from neurotic genes Has grown so confused it cannot bear Life. It seems to him there is No line, and in his mirror image, no life.   As he squeals and rolls his eyes, again He totters on rickety, confected pegs Like the fabricated gait of a wind-up doll In which no sentience occurs.   Only at times, the veil lifts Quietly; he sees a dog from the pound, A vague picture forms of real life and love –  It clambers through his button eyes, plunges the metal…

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Parody # 5: This Be the Disgrace

February 2, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Poetry, WRITING & LITERATURE |

(with apologies to Philip Larkin and “This Be the Verse”) They f__k you up, your teaching staff. They may not mean to, but they do. Merrily they meet and laugh When a spot of teaching might fall due.   But they were f__ked up in their turn By the hapless, cringing bureaucrats, Who half the time lacked all concern And half involved in drunken spats.   Teachers take sabbaticals, That last longer than world wars. Bring the kids home from school halls Protect them from a useless cause.

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